Monument sights in Afghanistan
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Sitting on the banks of the Arghandab River is the Baba Wali Shrine, also known as Baba Sahib by Kandaharis. Gul Agha Sherzai, the twice-former Governor of Kandahar, fierce warlord and former mujahideen commander constructed the shrine at a cost of millions of dollars to honour one of his revered tribesmen. It provides a great view to the verdant Arghandab Valley, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the dusty province. The multi-level shrine, marble and mirror-clad, set into a hillside is a popular picnic place for the Kandaharis, with kebabs, hand-made ice cream and local fruit juices available from cart vendors.
One kilometre west of Dand Chowk nestled in a rocky outcrop above the city are The Forty Steps, which are visible from most of Shah-e-Nau. The steps will take you to a small enclave in the mountain guarded by two stone lions. The statues were carved by Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire of India, who took Kandahar in the 16th century. Inside the enclave there is a Persian inscription paying tribute to the conquests of Babur. It's a great place to take the ubiquitous Afghan thermos and drink a cup of green chai while watching the sunrise, but it won't be serene for long as your presence will probably attract an army of kids from the surrounding village.
The empty niches of the Buddha statues dominate the Bamiyan valley. Carved in the 6th century, the two statues, standing 38m and 55m respectively, were the tallest standing statues of Buddha ever made. Now gone, the emptiness of the spaces the statues have left behind nevertheless inspire awe and quiet contemplation in equal measure. The bases of the niches are fenced off and although it is quite possible to view them for free from some distance, a ticket from the office of the Director of Information and Culture (In front of Large Buddha niche) allows further access to the site.
Next to the director's office is a large shed containing the salvaged remains of the Large…